Westminster calling: former Lord Chancellor returns to the fray

Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer has returned to frontline politics by speaking for the Labour Party in the House of Lords.

The architect of the Legal Services Act and arch Blairite is being joined on the frontbench by former legal aid minister Lord Bach.

Having appointed solicitor Sadiq Khan as shadow Lord Chancellor and secretary of state for justice, new Labour leader Ed Miliband has also named four MPs to his shadow justice team, only one of whom is a lawyer. They and their briefs are:

  • Chris Bryant – political and constitutional reform;
  • Helen Goodman – prisons, probation, sentencing policy and youth justice;
  • Andy Slaughter – courts and tribunals, criminal law, youth justice, the Parole Board, freedom of information, and legal aid; and
  • Rob Flello – civil law, family law, coroners and the Land Registry.

Mr Slaughter is the only lawyer among them, having practised as a barrister for 12 years until being elected in 2005. He was at Bridewell Chambers in Blackfriars, where he started off in general criminal and civil law before moving on to specialise in personal injury and housing law.

Lord Falconer currently works as senior counsel in the London office of US law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, and recently spoke out in favour of commoditising and “de-lawyering” personal injury work (see story). However, he expressed serious concerns about both the Jackson and Young reports.


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